1. Fenghe Luo’s Realistic NYC Souvenirs
Fenghe Luo’s prject “WTF NYC” isn’t brand new, but it’s worth taking a look at. Rather than pretty skylines and Lady Liberty, Luo’s take on NYC souvenirs isn’t just funny, it’s (frighteningly) realistic. From snow-globes with garbage bags inside to a subway sound box to a lapel pin stating “Yes that’s piss,” the tchotchkes perfectly illustrate our beloved NYC. Anybody who has spent a little time in the city will surely appreciate these items—and wish they were for sale. Read and see more at designboom.
2. Fujifilm GFX 50S Medium Format Digital Camera is Coming
The most anticipated camera in years, the Fujifilm GFX 50S medium format digital camera is set for release this February. The GFX 50S is mirrorless and uses a huge CMOS sensor—it’s one and a half times larger than its 35mm equivalent. Even though its sensor is a big one, the camera itself is roughly the same size and weight as other full-frame system cameras—a bonus for those who carry several cameras with them when traveling. We had a brief hands-on with it recently and were impressed with the weight, speed, image quality and low-light capabilities.
3. Replicating the American Dollar’s Scent
Partnering with chemist and perfumer Marc vom Ende from fragrance and flavor manufacturer Symrise, artist Mike Bouchet will fill all 45,000 square feet of Chelsea’s Marlborough Gallery with the reconstructed scent of American money. The exhibition, known as “Tender,” opens today 19 January 2017. Within, guests will find nothing but the olfactory, invisible “structure.” The scent’s formula took over a year to develop and carries around 100 notes—including those from inks, paper, leathers, human odor and metal cash machines. Bouchet chose currency’s scent for its scientifically-proven ability to stimulate an emotional response. You can read more about the process at the WSJ.
4. Japan Standardizes Bidet Function Imagery
Even if you’ve used a bidet elsewhere—be that a different nation or just a different bathroom—one generally has to interpret the icons that accompany various features. Oftentimes, they’re rather obtuse, leading to unexpected results. Thankfully the Japan Sanitary Equipment Industry Association (aka toilet- and bidet-makers) have agreed to standardize all of the pictograms. The association settled upon eight, with each corresponding to a feature, and they’ll be applied to all products rolling out this year and in the future.
5. Mozilla’s New Logo
Using the symbols :// instead of the “ill” in Mozilla, Johnson Banks’ new logo for the company is causing a bit of a stir. While the symbols come from a full URL (aka http://) some are seeing the pre-emoji slant-face emoticon, which traditionally was a meant to express being skeptical, annoyed or undecided. Regardless, Johnson Banks’ design (called Protocol 2.0) has made an impact, and was chosen from four finalist concepts which were released back in September. Studio founder Michael Johnson says, “It’s been fascinating process, involving thousands of views and opinions worldwide—the world’s first genuinely open-source rebrand.” Read more about their approach and process at It’s Nice That.
6. NASA Selects Housing Designs for Mars
To encourage design thinking for the next stage of space exploration (and potential settlement), NASA hosted the 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge—tasking designers with imagining plans for homes on Mars. Every entry carried a distinct futurism and descriptions of the functionality within but winner Mars Ice House proposed something extraordinary—a 3D-printed dual layer ice dome. From Team Space Exploration Architecture and Clouds Architecture Office in New York, the Mars Ice House protects against compromising radiation but allows natural light in so residents could sync to the daytime cycle of the planet. Check out more entries in the slideshow at Cool Material.
7. Confirming the Medical Benefits of Marijuana
The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine has released a whopping 400-page study on the clinical benefits of marijuana wherein they support almost 100 conclusions. The report features information from 10,000 scientific studies and notes many positive effects, including cannabinoids’ impact on treating chronic pain. It also states that smoking marijuana is not linked to cancers that arise from smoking tobacco products (though respiratory ailments may arise). The study also denies many other negative claims (like the idea of weed being a gateway drugs) but does make clear that mental issues including anxiety and depression can be side-effects. Read more at Ars Technica.
8. America’s Last Disco Ball-Maker
Starting with an aluminum sphere (some as large as a whopping 10 feet in diameter), Yolanda Baker makes disco balls by hand, a craft she has perfected over almost 50 years. While the disco ball boom dropped off—thanks to cheaper, overseas options becoming available, Baker (known as Yo Yo) is America’s last disco queen. During the zenith of Studio 54, flares and doing The Hustle, Baker made 160,000 disco balls each year and has since handcrafted pieces for Madonna and Beyonce. See the video at FACT.